June 23, 2012 § 1 Comment
Finally, my novel: The Cheaters: Turning Vegas Around is available on Amazon.com. I am unable to provide a direct link to the novel through WordPress.com.
Copy and paste: The Cheaters: Turning Vegas Around into Amazon’s book website and my novel will come up. It is available in both paperback and for the various e-readers.
I uploaded a picture of the front cover.
In present-day Las Vegas, a trio of hustlers—“cheaters” in gambling parlance—join forces to take a renowned casino for $25 million.
➢ Eddie, 35, withdrawn and highly intelligent, is the accomplished card sharp and casino defrauder who masterminds the complex scam.
➢ Marla, the beautiful young woman who becomes Eddie’s lover, is a novice at cheating but, under Eddie’s tutelage, proves to be a quick study.
➢ Clay, Eddie’s mentor, is a veteran scam artist, former casino boss, and now Eddie and Marla’s partner-in-crime.
Each has committed his share of sins but, despite the heady rush that goes along with the cheating lifestyle, each swears that this unprecedented score will be his last. Cheaters charts the formation of the scheme, its step-by-step implementation, and the many twists that threaten to blow it apart. To pull off their coup, Eddie Marla, and Clay must descend into a world of mobsters, crooked cops, compulsive gamblers, murderous casino insiders, and ingenious scammers. Their bag of tricks—computer chips, ultrasonic sound transmission, and good old sleight-of-hand—provide the reader with a virtual education in the larcenous ways of today’s professional cheats.
The Cheaters: Turning Vegas Around taps into America’s vast and growing interest in casino culture. Witness the proliferation of televised high-stakes poker, as well as recent books like Ben Mezrich’s Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. Moreover, Cheaters is the first contemporary novel about high-end casino scammers written by a consummate insider. As a former general manager of a casino in Aruba and manager of the surveillance room at a Las Vegas outfit, I am aware of the endless varieties of casino scams. As a 21 “mechanic” for blackjack back in the1960s and ’70s, I cheated players for the casino. And as a gambler, I learned not only how to cheat at 21, but also how to manipulate slot machines, cheat the roulette games, and rake in the rewards.
October 10, 2011 § 7 Comments
The casino boss’ reasoning made sense. How could you cut open a roulette ball and put a magnet inside? The cutting would be easy enough, but how would you put the ball back together?
There was a way to get a magnet inside of a roulette ball, and we devised it, also figuring out how to control the gaffed roulette ball. What good is it to have a small magnet inside of a roulette ball without the power to influence it?
I wore a powerful Alnico magnet on the top of my upper left thigh underneath very baggy slacks, which performed the function of hiding the magnet.
The magnet was heavy, about 25 pounds, 10 inches long, four inches wide and three quarters of an inch thick. I couldn’t keep it in place without some modification to the magnet. We had a leatherette cover made for the leg magnet with a loop at the top so a belt could pass through it. This was still not enough to hold it in place so we made a strap that ran from the loop under my shirt to my shoulder. That did it for the support.
It was not magic to get a magnet inside of a roulette ball if you made your own roulette balls from scratch, and that’s what we did.
When I write “we” the other half of “we” was the same guy I was involved with in the lead bottoms I wrote about in a previous post. “We” are still good friends and I talk with him often. His initials are R.M. and I am putting this in as an inside joke between R.M. and I. He is now a respectable businessman and if he wants to tell somebody who R.M. is, it’s up to him. I’m sure he’ll laugh.
R.M. and I went to a machine shop in Los Angeles and requested the manufacture of our desired ball molds so we could cast our own balls. We explained to the machinist, in order to enlist his aid in the design, that we were inventing a kind of pinball machine game that utilized plastic balls of different diameters that were to contain small pieces of metal of varying weights in the center giving each ball a different weight but the same appearance.
He was most helpful with the various-sized molds that were eventually developed out of aluminum. He constructed molds that separated into two halves, a bottom and a top. Each half of the mold had half the diameter of a roulette ball machined into the surface. When the two surfaces of the mold met, the interior concave surfaces formed an almost perfect sphere.
The top half of the mold had a quarter inch diameter hole drilled into the center of its concave section that reached into the top half of the mold.
We returned to Vegas with our molds.
We had purchased a common colorless liquid resin from a hobby shop. The plastic resin came with a catalyst, which when added during the ball manufacturing process, caused the special roulette ball to harden exactly like a normal acetate or nylon roulette ball. The hardening took five hours.
Then we had the bottom half of the ball poured to within one sixteenth of an inch below the rim of the bottom concave sphere of the aluminum mold. We would wait for approximately two hours and then place a three-eighths inch long by one-eighth inch thick diameter “indox” magnet on the center of the top half of the partially hardened tacky half-ball. Now the indox magnet would be exactly in the center of the sphere. (One eighth of an inch equals two sixteenths of an inch, thus the reasoning for placing the indox magnet one sixteenth of an inch below the rim of the bottom mold.)
We then attached the top half of the mold and poured more liquid plastic through the quarter inch shaft of the top half of the mold.
We used indox magnets because they produced powerful magnetic fields, were light in weight and had reverse polarities. One end would repel and the other would attract.
We used the reverse polarity magnets because we felt that when the roulette ball was in the roulette wheel-head race it could be more easily knocked out of the race by the magnet on my leg because it was either pulling or pushing the ball, maybe both.
After waiting five hours we would remove the ball from the mold. The ball would have a “stem” that we cut off with a hacksaw blade.
The machinist had manufactured special-hardened, extremely sharp steel cutting dies to remove the seam between where the two halves of the sphere had been joined. We had a different sized die for each size ball we were to make.
By hand, we shaped the ball by rolling it against the steel dies, which had a concave shape to match the resulting shape of the balls, until we had an almost perfect sphere. We used a micrometer to measure and achieve the desired size. Shave a little, measure a little, shave a little. Measure until the desired result was achieved. For example, a ball that was a true half-inch (five hundred thousands of an inch) or whatever size we were making.
Roulette balls are not white; they are more of a cream or ivory color. We added color pigment to the plastic resin to achieve whatever color we wanted. I made a purple ball once during our practicing of how to make the balls. My partner didn’t think purple was practical, and it wasn’t, but I did it anyway. I was having fun. The ball was useless but I liked it.
There is an old cheaters’ saying, “Now that we know how to do this, we have to find somebody to do it to.”
Now we had to get one of our special balls into a roulette game.
We had our own roulette wheel head and practiced for six to eight hours a day for a month until I was able to knock the ball into a section of 10 numbers fifty percent of the time—enough to get the money. With the dealer getting out 20 spins an hour, we figured we would earn $1,300 an hour betting $5.00 per number. Normally, we would begin with betting $1.00 per number and my partner would slowly increase his betting in increments of one or two units to make it look more natural. This was enough to win the money without creating too much steam from the pit help.
The two of us would work in conjunction. I would “switch” our ball for the casino’s roulette ball. It was simple enough to do. I would stand at the edge of the roulette wheel-head, at the end of the table with the magnetic ball cupped in my right hand. When the casino’s ball slowed down and was on its last spin, ready to drop from the wheel-head race in which it was spinning, my cohort would be standing at the opposite end of the table. We had eye contact and he was excellent with his timing of buying in with a hundred-dollar bill, throwing it on the layout at the last second, “rounding” the dealer so the dealer would turn his head for just a moment.
It was too late for the dealer to give him chips at this point, but the dealer wanted that bill off of the layout so he’d reach out and grab it. This is all the time I needed. Everybody was distracted. I’d put my right hand over the edge of the wheel-head rim and let the casino ball roll into my hand, “catching” it and simultaneously dropping our magnetic ball. The ball would bounce around and settle in a number like it was supposed to.
This was before the colorless Plexiglas shields were put up around the roulette wheel-head and chip bank—to prevent this type of thing—where players could stand and watch.
The next step was for me to go put the magnet on and then come back to the game. I did not want to get caught with a magnetic ball in my hand and a magnet on my leg.
My friend and cohort would be making one-dollar bets on certain numbers until I got back to the game. I sat in the seat closest to the wheel head. This was so I could move my left leg under the wheel head to knock the ball out of the race.
We had decided on using the ten numbers after the double zero because the green of the double zero was twice as wide as the green single zero, which afforded me the luxury of instantly locating the section I was lining up with the ball.
My partner was betting the same section of numbers on the wheel every spin of the ball: the 10 numbers following the green 00, namely 27-10-25-29-12-8-19-31-18-6.
He would now stand in the middle section of the table, as he had to reach the number “six” at one end of the table and the “31” at the other when placing his bets.
Of course we did not acknowledge each other. If we were to get caught we did not know each other. I was going to take all the heat. Young and dumb.
I had to watch more than one thing at a time: the spinning roulette ball as it slowed to a speed that would look normal when it was knocked from the race by my leg magnet, ensure the ball was lined up with the green double zero when I moved my leg under the wheel-head to affect the ball, all the while making meaningless notes on a pad of paper.
I also had to pay attention to the pit help. I used to slick my hair back with Vaseline, wear thick horn rimmed glasses to look like a nerdy “system” player. All casino people laugh at system players. When I was sure I was going to knock the ball into our section, I’d touch the top of my head and my partner would try to get down bigger bets.
R.M. had dealt craps for years and had the ability to get the chips down really fast.
We developed a “route” of casinos. We kept track of what date we had been there, which shift and so on. We never played near the end or beginning of a shift. We did not want to be pointed out by a dayshift boss to a swing shift boss. There were no cameras in those days so that was certainly to our benefit.
We would win a couple of thousand dollars or so at each casino and quit. We did not take the magnetic ball out of the game(s). We should have, but felt it would be easier to not have to put it in again a month later.
We also made the mistake of having two magnetic balls on separate roulette tables in the same casinos. Somehow, one of the casinos had moved a roulette ball from one table to another, and upon closing the table on the graveyard shift and placing everything under the chip bank cover, two roulette balls moved and stuck together.
This made the newspapers and our scam was over. Some bosses began carrying little magnets in their jacket pockets and they would pass them over a ball every once in a while to make sure it wasn’t magnetic.
Still, the casino people did not completely understand how this scam worked, how the magnetic ball was controlled.
On occasion, a roulette ball will come out of the race, hit the wheel head and bounce out of the wheel head and land on the floor. Customers and pit help will look for it.
This happened once with our magnetic ball and the ball stuck to my leg magnet. People were looking around for the ball and I took it from my leg, bent down to the floor and said, “Here it is.”
Another time we had a young woman carrying the leg magnet in her purse for us. She had a big leather bag for a purse that she slung over her shoulder to carry the magnet, as it was too heavy for her. It weighed about 25 pounds and she went about 105 pounds, at most.
After I put one of our magnetic balls into a game, I would meet with her in the lobby and she’d hand me her purse and I would go into a bathroom and put it on in a stall. Otherwise I would have to go to the car, take off my baggy pants and put on the magnet inside the car. It was not the most comfortable thing and the car would not always be parked close by. Besides, passersby could see into the car.
She was carrying the magnet down the street and got too close to a metal lamppost. Her bag stuck to the lamppost and she couldn’t pull it off. She kept struggling with it. I was about 100 feet behind her, made it to her quickly and pulled the bag off of the pole.
She learned to stay away from metal things like slot machines and lampposts.
I think the roulette ball gaff could be done today with some kind of electronic device inside the ball and a remote control unit with which to influence the ball. Just need a dealer to put it into the game.
And there are plenty of dealers with larceny in their hearts.
September 19, 2011 § 6 Comments
I had been whacking out—cheating blackjack players—at a club in North Vegas. It wasn’t so bad in North Las Vegas then. Now it’s a rough spot to go to or live and work. The owner of this joint and I had a falling out about money. I charged $100 per day cash, got a paycheck like the regular dealers were paid (so I would be legal on the books), plus a percentage of what I won.
This was the normal deal for a mechanic. The owner was being greedy. He was a player and would take the winnings from his small casino and gamble it away in other casinos. He told me he could no longer pay me the $100 per day because the casino wasn’t doing well. I knew better so I quit.
After a short vacation, I dropped by a casino at which I had worked before as a 21 mechanic. I spoke with the owner and he told me he had been pressured into letting a union form. The pressure came from some local bad guys and he originally thought it would be OK to have a dealers’ union. But the union people were stealing way too much and he couldn’t fire dealers without proof. He knew what percentages the games were supposed to hold and they weren’t holding them. It was like they had taken over his casino. He told me that he was planning on taking out all of the gaming tables except for the Wheels of Fortune – AKA The Big Six – thus putting the union dealers out of a job. He was a smart man and had an MBA way back then. The Big Six dealers had been there for years so they had seniority in the union they had been forced into joining.
Bye-bye bad-guys union.
While working in this casino before, I had wondered why the Big Six dealers had stayed Big Six dealers and had not moved on to learning the other games. The owner told me the reason: The Big Six dealers who had been with him for years received ten percent of the drop—the cash money that they put into the drop box. I hadn’t known this and discovered there were actually Big Six “mechanics.” Those guys could actually aim the wheel and make it stop on the number they wanted—or in a section they wanted—usually one with mainly ones and twos.
I told the owner that I didn’t have the skill to aim the wheel. He said, “You’ll learn, and don’t steal more than a $100 a day from me,” and smiled. He was a really good guy and he knew I’d leave plenty for him and I had no scruples about cheating the players. Of course I knew he got into the drop boxes to take a bunch of cash before the accountants got to them and counted the money in the count room.
The Big Six, if spun on the square, should hold about 25 percent. The owner wanted more like 95 percent so he could take enough cash so it appeared to hold 25 percent. This is why he allowed the Big Six dealers to take money. He knew by the percentages we were holding how much we were taking. As I said, he was a smart man. Nice, too.
The Big Six is divided into a number of equal segments separated by brass spokes. Each segment is associated with numbers. The winning number is indicated by a flexible piece of rubber, which is mounted on a non-flexible surface. This flexible piece of rubber rubs against the spokes as the wheel spins and is what slows down the wheel until it stops.
It took me a couple of months to learn the controlled spins. One of the Big Six dealers—a pinball machine junkie—taught me the spins. I had had coffee many times with him when I had worked there before and he knew what I did, but we hadn’t openly talked about it.
I had wondered before why this Big Six dealer had never wanted to move over to the pit and learn the other games. I figured he had to be stealing, too, on top of the ten percent. He worked a different shift than I ended up working so I never knew for sure if he was stealing.
The permanent Big Six dealer taught me the various spins. There are a few basic spins to use when learning to aim the wheel: the one-spin, one-and-a-half, two-spin, and the two-and-a-half.
It took me a month or so to get these spins down. Another trick was to slowly back into the wheel with my right arm behind my back. I’d look up to a small mirror, which was mounted above and behind the players, and use the triceps muscle in my arm to slow down the wheel if I thought it was going to go past where I aimed it. Then after I had made the correction I would stand away from the wheel so the players could watch it stop on its own.
The different spins are based on the following: While the players were making their bets, and I’d be giving them hype just like in a carnival on the boardwalk, I was playing with the wheel moving it to where I wanted it to eventually stop. This was how the spins worked. A one-spin would bring the wheel back right to where I had started. So would a two-and-a-half and a one-and-a-half. You can’t rely on only the one-spin too much because players say, “Come on, spin that thing.”
It really was serious stuff that took concentration. It reminded me of a baseball player getting up to bat. I’d position my feet just right—we all used the same stance—put my right hand on the wheel between where the spokes stuck out, my left hand on the leather lip of the table, rise up on my toes and go for the spin I was going to use. I’d make the spin and as soon as I let the wheel go, I could tell if I hadn’t spun it hard enough. If I hadn’t, I’d give it another little additional spin, by tapping the spokes on the wheel a little more until I felt okay about it. You get so you can listen to the wheel and watch it to know where it’s going to stop.
Me and this other guy had an act. We worked it around to where we shared one Big Six wheel near the front door where all the foot traffic was. I’d yell at people who looked like flat suckers and get them to come over. The other guy did the same. By coincidence his name was Eddie. All we lacked was a hook like they used in the days of vaudeville.
I’d tell the prospective sucker how much fun this game was and how it was very easy to play. The only reason anybody would play the Big Six was because they didn’t understand the other table games. Besides, all we had were the Big Six wheels. ”Look at all those ones on the wheel,” I would tell them. “They are almost all dollars. Bet a dollar on the one and I bet you’ll win a dollar.” Naturally I’d hit a one. Then it was, “Try the two. Bet your winnings on the two. Go ahead.” They would do it. I’d hit a two.
“See how easy this is?” I’d say.
The value of the bills displayed on the table top, under glass, corresponded with the payoff the player would receive if she/he won a bet. They would place their chips on the bill amount of their choice. They had to do this before the dealer spun the wheel. They could not bet late because they would be dirty, no-good cheaters trying to gauge where the wheel would stop. Some people!
Eventually I’d have them making all the bets on the table. But there was only one 40 on the wheel. The 40 was how the players would be suckered. As I was giving them my rap I would mention several times what a bad bet the 40 was, that I hadn’t hit it in two months. I kept reinforcing this. The 40 was crucial in getting their money.
I showed them an almost foolproof way, I would say, to not lose their money. I would get them to make certain bets and I’d hit them. I’d let them get ahead, a little. The player would be convinced that I didn’t care if they won. It wasn’t my money they would win, it was this rotten casino’s money. Eventually I would get them betting bigger and they would be reaching into their wallet or purse. I would be laughing and cajoling with them, get the cocktail waitress for them.
I’d get them to bet all over the layout until they had about $50 of their own money out there and then I’d hit the 40—the only bet they didn’t have covered. I’d say, “Oh, the 40! I haven’t hit that in two months.” I’d say I was sorry but it would probably be another couple of months before the 40 hit again.
I’d encourage them to keep betting and many times they would. When I could see they were getting tired of my act I would signal my partner, who was sitting just 15 feet away at the bar, to come in and take over. He’d come in and I’d tell the players it was time for my break and good luck and tell my partner right in front of them to try and be lucky for them because they were real nice people and all that BS. Then I’d go next door, have a drink, and flirt with the cocktail waitresses. My partner in this would continue my nice guy act and get them for more.
We weren’t dropping all the cash that people bought in with. We made a deal that we wouldn’t put this thing on fire because if we took too much we might get fired. The owner had told us how much we could take so we kept our part of the deal and kept it at $100 a day.
When people bought in with a $20 bill, I would give them their chips and fold the $20 into quarters. Then I’d pull out the drop box paddle to drop the bill in the box and slam the paddle down real hard, simultaneously folding the bill up in my right hand and pulling my hand away real fast. It was misdirection. I would keep the bill in my right hand, hidden, and spin the wheel with the bill still in my hand. Right after I spun the wheel I would move my right hand to my left underarm and put the bill there temporarily, all the while watching the players to see if they saw me take the paper money. When the wheel would begin to slow down I would be saying—keeping their attention on the spinning wheel—“Is it going to hit the 20? Maybe the ten . . .” Then I would take the bill from under my arm and act like I was tucking in my shirt quickly and stick the bill in my tight slacks. The bill would be inside my pants pressed against my stomach.
My partner, Eddie, and I would work a half hour on and a half hour off, unless we were working over some people. Then we just stayed there as long as the people would ride us.
The two Eddies’ wheel put down, on average, about $2,000 on our shift. At ten percent of the drop we ended up with $100 apiece and we stole another $100 and were paid top pay at the time, which was $27.50 a shift. This was in the late ’60s and we were doing very well with our cash “bonus”.
The slot boss, who was a longtime trusted employee of the owner, would ask us how much he owed us, our percentage of the drop. We kept track of the cash drop by arranging chips in one slot in the chip rack with the corresponding value of the cash that went down. He’d go to the cage and get the money and slip it to us, surreptitiously sticking it in our back pockets.
One time on the Big Six I beat a dealer from the Golden Nugget out of a $1,000. A dealer! I was having a hard time believing it. He got so pissed he turned the whole table over on its side. Chips spilled all over the place. It was pretty funny.
Yes. That is me in the photograph. Click your mouse cursor on the picture and it will go to full size.
September 5, 2011 § 1 Comment
There was a particular group of dealers from the casino next door who were morons. They were relatively certain that I was cheating for the house. It was their intent to catch me cheating them, but for what end I never did know, as they never caught me. Three or four of them would sit at my game and I would deal to them. They paid very strict attention to everything I did.
They came in almost every night after their shift and would lose their money – imbeciles. If you think you are being cheated out of your money, why would you continue to go up against it, especially if you got busted every night? They watched for me to deal the second card, but their problem was twofold, they were drunk and couldn’t tell an “ace from a deuce”— inside terminology meaning that they couldn’t tell if the top card was being dealt or the second card was being dealt.
There were more things in my arsenal than just dealing the second card. One of the other things I did that was routine to me—and many other mechanics—was what is termed “running up a hand.” When picking up the cards after a hand had been dealt and all bets attended to, I would pick up cards in a particular order.
Example: There are four players and a dealer—me. The dealer on the next hand—me—would receive the fifth and tenth cards I had picked up: the first four cards dealt to the players, the fifth card dealt to the dealer—me—cards six, seven, eight and nine to the players, and card number 10 to me.
So, during the picking up of the cards, I made certain that the fifth and tenth cards were good cards for me, hopefully a face card and an ace. But most often two cards with a value of ten is what occurred. If a mechanic can show the players 20 every hand, he will get all the money.
Then I false shuffled the cards, carrying what is called a “slug.” The slug was the 10 cards I had run up in the specific order. I would make sure the 10 cards stayed together and ended up on the top of the deck. I would offer one of the players the cut and do something that is called “hopping the cut.” That means that when the player cut the deck, I would put the cards back in the same order they were before the player cut the deck, when I was picking up the deck to get ready to deal it. It’s a sleight-of-hand misdirection thing.
The other thing I did was to switch my hole-card and had to peek at the next card(s) in the deck to know what they were. These sucker dealers never picked up on anything.
The hole-card switch was not a well-known move. I knew of one other mechanic using it. It was something that most people thought was impossible. Plenty of people had heard of the hole-card switch but didn’t know how it was done or discounted it as being BS. It was my favorite move. It was really a strong one to win the money. I’ve uploaded two videos of myself switching the hole-card for my readers to observe.
It’s done with the deck hand and is the reason that casinos back in the day, when they finally found out how the hole-card switch was performed, made it a rule that a 21 dealer could not turn over his hole-card with his deck hand.
I don’t have a video camera so I used my Iphone’s video feature. I taped it to a small tripod and made a little setup with an old green-felt 21-table layout.
This particular hole-card switch took me many takes to get a couple of decent switches. This switch is analogous to somebody who more than 40 years ago was a decent piano player, but after the music stopped 40 years ago, it stopped for a long time.
Every once in a while the piano player sits down to fool around for 15 minutes or so playing a tune or two. This is the same as me with a deck of cards. Every few years I might pick up a deck of cards and practice a little and then stop. I think to myself, Why am I doing this? I have no reason to.
I could feel the pressure just performing the hole-card switch in front of my camera, the same move I used for years in live action and thought nothing of doing it.
In the videos you will see me walk up to the table, perform the move and then move away. Before I approach the dealer position I had to start the video and then walk around to the dealer position and proceed. When I finish the move, I move away because I had to go shut off the camera.
I thought I’d explain all this because this whole thing I’m doing, writing the blog, the pictures, the novel I wrote—is a one man operation.
Well, I do get some blog writing advice from my old friend Dan Bunker, by e-mail, as we live several hundred miles apart. Dan also copy edited my novel.
Many of you know Dan and, for those who don’t, we grew up in the same small town many years ago. He was also a 21 dealer for a few years. He was one of the good guys, though. He is now a filmmaker.
Check out Dan and his wife Judy ver Mehr’s website: http://madmanmuntzmovie.com/
There are two hole-card switch videos. One, the two-card switch, is of me just switching the hole-card.
The three card switch is an example of being stuck in a situation with my having 18: a face card as my up card and an eight as the hole-card. 18 is not a strong hand for the house. The dealer can’t hit 18. He has to stand pat on it. What to do?
Try to find a ten-value card to switch in as the hole-card. But sometimes I’d get real lucky and find a card with the value of three. I would save the three for myself by dealing the second card. When I turned over my hole-card, I would switch the eight that was in the hole for the three. Then I would hit my now hand of 13 with the eight that had been in the hole, ending up with 21.
Of course this three-card switch works the same with the dealer having a ten-value card up and a seven in the hole and being able to find a four or having 19 and finding a two to switch in for the nine in the hole.
All these things worked great on the dealers who thought they were going to catch me.
They were just plain dumb. If they would have caught me and tried to make a problem, I would have had them thrown out permanently, eighty-sixed.
I uploaded these hole-card switches I perform to YouTube. They are under the name of Clay Parish. Clay, is one of three protagonists in my novel The Cheaters, which I plan on uploading Tuesday. It will be approximately five weeks before it is available. I will continue to blog during that time and design my book covers, front and back.
August 31, 2011 § 10 Comments
I was going for the money—cheating players for the house—and the word had spread on the graveyard shift on which I worked: 2:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., and that I was the cause of the square-John dealers not making any tokes. Tokes are what casino people call tips.
At the time, it was a small shift, only about five 21 games open, one craps and a roulette wheel. Everybody got along, but the dealers were bitching about their tokes taking a nosedive. I wanted to keep them quiet.
The dealers were saying, and I quote, “How can we ever make anything? As soon as a big player comes in, Curley goes in and chops off their head.” They were upset and I wanted to keep them quiet and happy.
I began something new. When I came in to begin my shift I would make a production of letting the regular dealers, who were also beginning their shift, see me take $200 in five-dollar chips out of different chip racks from the various games and put them in the toke box for them. I also did not accept a share of tokes. I was making way more money than they were, and of course my not taking a share was another attempt to keep them happy. Besides, nobody ever toked me.
If it was a particularly good night for business and I had brought in lots of money, I’d make another production out of stuffing another couple of hundred or so in chips into the dealers toke box, which they later counted up and split along with the tokes they themselves had received from the lighter action games. I was paying them off with casino money to keep the natives from becoming too restless.
Putting chips in the toke box did not keep my situation entirely quiet, though. Word got out and the sucker dealers who should have known better would come from the casino next door on their break, get a drink from the bar, and then as many as seven or 10 of them would stand in front of my game about five feet back from the players.
They were no-nothing idiots trying to see what I was doing. They wanted to see a mechanic in action–something they had only heard about—deal the second-card, something. They did not know what to watch for, but they bothered me, bringing unwanted attention to me.
There was a security guard employed by the casino. He was a big guy, six-feet-six, and looked like he should have been a tackle in professional football. He was 35 years old. I had asked him if he had ever lost a fight. He told me that he had lost a fight once when he was in the Army. That was good enough for me. He also carried a pistol.
His salary was $17 a shift and payroll taxes were taken out. I began giving him a $25 chip every night when I came to work, which I took out of a chip rack on a game. He liked me very much for doing this. I’d go over to him, put a green $25 chip in his shirt pocket, and tell him to go cash it out. It was a bonus with strings, a non-verbal contract. He knew what was going on and what I expected.
Not only did I want him to stay close by in case some night the “stuff” would hit the fan because I got nailed, but I also used him as a “gallery dispersant.”
When my gallery formed up, Bob would clear it out. He was nice and calm, even friendly to them, as he physically bumped into the gallery members forcibly and would say, “Come on guys, let’s move it along. This ain’t no golf game.” They didn’t offer him any resistance, but they would be back on their next break and Bob would have to move them out again.
I would like to mention that I am ready to upload my novel, The Cheaters, to Amazon. I will do this within the next couple of days. I have been told it will take approximately four weeks before it appears. During this time I will be designing my own covers, front and back.
I think I might have been writing posts that are too long so will continue more about what I wrote about today in my next post, which will be within the next couple of days. If some agree that some posts are too long and technical, please comment about it. Or if you think they are fine, please comment about that. Please comment, either way. I will go with the flow.
August 25, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I spoke with Randy yesterday.
He told me another heart attack story and I decided to make a short post out of it.
Randy was still breaking in at the Horseshoe learning to be a 21 dealer. He was dealing to two guys for most of the night who were drinking and having a good old time betting it up decently, $50 to a $100 a hand. One guy was playing two hands on second base—that’s the center of the table— and his buddy was playing one hand sitting on third base, the last seat. The guy on third base playing one hand goes all goofy looking, has a heart attack and falls on the floor. He had just been dealt two cards and didn’t know what they were.
The guy on second base plays both of his own hands and then asks his friend who is lying on the floor what he wants to do with his hand. The guy on the floor says, “What do I have?”
Second-base guy looks at the hand and says, “You’ve got 14.”
“What’s the dealer’s up card?
“He’s got a face card up.”
Heart-attack guy caught a face card and busted the hand.
An ambulance came and heart-attack guy was taken away. His buddy stayed at the table playing and said he’d go over to the hospital later.
Randy is alive and well.
He doesn’t know what happened to the heart attack player.